Home Improvement

Checklist for Building a New House

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Making the decision to build a house isn’t one that you make overnight. You might wake up with the idea, but there are so many things to consider before you actually go ahead with your plans. Homes come in all shapes and sizes and can be created in fantastic and amazing ways. We have all seen the brilliant ideas of mini-homes as well as the quirky creations dotted about the world.

There are ways of building a home that is completely movable, like a pod house or school bus transformation, or you might be looking to creating a more permanent structure. You might find that building around an existing building is better for you, or you might be happy to face the from scratch challenge head-on.


First of all, you need to find somewhere to build your house. When you head out to look for land, it’s important to consider its composition. You don’t want your foundations to be built on marshland, land prone to flooding or lying on a fault line. Seek advice if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. You also need to get permission to build on that land before you even get planning permission to build a house, and there might also be other things to consider depending on your local government.


Now that you have a location for your new home, it’s time to plan exactly what it’s going to look like. The best route to take is to get advice from an architect; they can draw up the blueprints and leave it at that, or manage the whole project – or any level in between. They are the experts in this field so trust them. There are many jobs needed to build a house which you can self-teach if want a more hands-on approach, but in areas like electrics and plumbing as these areas can cost you thousands if done wrong you might want to get help from professionals.


How are you funding this build? Most people who go down this route have been saving for years, and even then might still need some financial help from a loan – like ones you can find at personalloans.co. Regardless of where the money is coming from make sure that you set a strict budget, but give yourself a little bit of wiggle room as things like weather interruptions, accidents and delays can very easily get in the way. Human error and mother nature can easily sap up your spare money, so having a decent sized cushion is a must. As you’re building think about ways you can save money; using reclaimed wood and bricks for example.

Needs vs Wants

You may want a swimming pool and sauna, but do you need it? Is it an improvement you can make in a few years or do you need it now. If it fits into your plan and budget, then go for it! But there will be times when you have to compromise and decide between something you need and something you want.

General, Home Improvement, Self-Care

What to Know When Moving to a New City

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Moving to a new city is both exciting and refreshing. In 2009, the UN estimated that 3 million people around the world were moving to new cities every week. A greater professional landscape and the possibility to meet people from diverse backgrounds offer many an opportunity they simply aren’t willing to miss. If you have recently thought of relocating and cannot wait to wave your family and friends goodbye for the promise of a better life, there are a few things you should know before booking that train or plane ticket.

With moving being one of life’s most stressful events, this is what you need to consider before taking the leap and embarking on what could be your life’s biggest changing journey.

The move itself

Packing all those boxes, and getting rid of unwanted items that no longer serve a purpose in your life, form a huge part of moving. Selecting what to take with you and decluttering your home will be one of the most stressful events you experience. It is good to know that there are a number of great moving companies out there whose services you can make use of to help you in this somewhat disruptive experience. Focus on downsizing while the professionals do the heavy lifting and packing!

Making friends

Landing in a new place and being surrounded by an exotic setting constitutes a great adventure for many. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the newness of it all, it is advisable that you start integrating into your surroundings as early as possible. This will ensure you start building a close-knit circle of friends and people you can rely on in the initial stages of your adventure. Starting a life somewhere new can feel lonely and this will only be minimized if you put some effort into building solid relationships right from the start. If approaching someone in a coffee shop or restaurant doesn’t seem too appealing, why not try online portals like Not4Dating? This is a site similar to a dating website, but solely for friendship!

Spending time alone

Having said all of this, nothing will ensure you get to know a place better like spending time alone. While being a newcomer in a city might make you a bit clingy and be over-reliant on the friends you make in the days immediately after you get there, it is important to keep to the routine you had before you made the move. If this involves going for your morning run, then make sure you don’t stop this for the sake of socializing. If you like exploring the city center and seeing what it has to offer, grab your camera and do so. Making new connections is important but so is spending time by yourself. Embark on these activities to make the start of your trip worthwhile!

While it won’t always be easy to feel comfortable in your new destination without your friends and family around, relocating to a new city will help you discover loads about yourself. Get out, explore and meet new people! If you feel lonely, the wonders of the internet will help you stay connected with your circle back at home.

What tips helped you when moving to a new town?

What to Know When Moving to a New City - The Southern Smiths: A few tips for making sure you don't fall when you get to your new home!


Home Improvement

6 Pieces of Furniture to Replace When Moving Into a New Home

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Moving to a new home is an exciting time, but it can be difficult adapting to the changes. Perhaps you’re not used to the size of the kitchen, maybe you forget where you stored things in your new cupboards or the angle of your TV feels off. Whatever the case, moving into a new home is a cause for celebration!

To make the transition easier, it’s actually a good idea to get rid of older pieces of furniture in favor of newer ones. If you feel like there are some bad memories associated with your old mattress, or if you feel like your furniture could use a complete overhaul, then here are some suggestions on what you could replace when moving into a new home.


Your Mattress

If you’ve always wanted to replace your mattress with something sturdy, such as the offerings at Sterling Sleep, then moving homes is the perfect reason to do it. We find it hard to get rid of old mattresses because it seems like an unnecessary purchase, but they’re heavy and take up so much space in the moving van that it’s better to leave it behind and get something new as a replacement.

Your Bed Frame

Similarly, your bed frame is another large piece of furniture that doesn’t need to be moved. In fact, moving the same old bed frame into your new home could make it feel less magical, so look at replacing this if possible.

Your Dining Table

Your new kitchen or dining room is going to have different dimensions and a different shape. As a result, your old dining table probably isn’t a good size or decor fit, which is why it’s best to get a new dining table. Consider getting something that suits your new dining room as best as possible. For example, if it’s smaller than you could get a folding dining table, or if it’s larger then you could even invest in a bar to go with your dining table.

Your Sofas

Sofas can get surprisingly worn out over time, and because you’re so used to sitting on them you rarely notice that their shape eventually changes. If you’ve ever been to a furniture store and sat on a new sofa then you’ll know exactly what it’s like! Get yourself a new sofa that fits the decor and feel of your new home and you’ll be much better off.

Your Display Cabinets

Display cabinets can get dusty and hard to maintain, so unless you have a sentimental attachment to your display cabinets you may want something fresh and new to match your sparkling new home.

Your Lighting Fixtures

Your lighting fixtures are probably old, haven’t been dusted for a while and will give off the same eerie lighting glow that you currently have. For something completely fresh and new, consider getting a new set of lighting fixtures if your new home doesn’t already come with them pre-installed.

General, Home Improvement, Self-Care

Where in the World Should you Live?

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

The world is a big place. Incidentally, it’s also your oyster, which means that you have no reason to live forever in the same place. More and more families choose to move abroad for a variety of good reasons, and very few of them find the need to come back. They are happy in their new life. If you find yourself in a position where you need to move to a new country, it’s important to know that it could be a positive step in your life.

There’s one important question that needs to be answered at first: Why would you want to move abroad? A lot of people move for professional reasons: They are offered a promotion and take the next logical step in their career. Others choose to move for family reasons. Finally, some people need a change in their life, and they decide to get a fresh start away from their everyday stress. There are many circumstances in which you can decide where to live. So where is right for you and your family, assuming you were in a similar situation?



The expat life, what for?

When you’re thinking about moving abroad, it’s natural to feel nervous about it. Moving homes it stressful, but changing country in the process can feel overwhelming. However, don’t panic because the expat life makes you happier, healthier and – best of all – wealthier. According to this article telegraph.co.uk/expat/health/does-expat-life-really-make-you-healthier-wealthier-and-happier/  that reviews the experiences of expat citizens in the world, a whopping 69% of expats found that their life abroad has had a positive influence on their health, which is over 10% more than people who have not left their country. Don’t they say that a change of air is good for you? The expats agree about it: Living in more than one country makes you healthier. More importantly, 63% of expat reported that they were happy in their life, with is again 10% more than people who stayed at home. While this might sound too good to be true, in reality, a lot of expats struggle when they go back to their country of origin, as they found that living abroad was stress-free and more relaxed. They’ve redefined home as the place where they feel good in their skin, and more often than not, that place is under a new sky.

Plan mindfully

If this has convinced you to live in a different country, you will need to take things slowly at first. It’s big decision to take, especially when you have a family, so it’s essential to plan it carefully and to discuss it at length with your other half and your children. Kids, especially young ones, thrive routine and stability, so you can expect an international move to throw them off balance for a time.

(Related post: Things You Need To Know Before Moving To A New Country)

Therefore if you want to live the expat dream described above, you will have to take the time to introduce the idea to your kids and to help them understand the implications. Take their feeling on board too: Being scared and stressed is to be expected, and you shouldn’t ignore their fears. In fact, the more you talk to them about it, and explain how the other country is going to be, the easier it’s going to be for them. Additionally, kids are not the only ones to stress out. Moving abroad means that you need to think of finding a property, dealing with a new healthcare system, and getting used to new foods and routines. In short, the earlier you start to gather information and plan for your new life, the smoother it’ll be.

But there is still the question of where to move, where you expat life is going to be. If you can pick a destination, it’s crucial that you stay true to your priorities and to the things that you have built your happiness on. Below, you will find a few ideas to get started to look into new destinations around the world.

Somewhere close and known

If you don’t want to dive into a completely unknown and unfamiliar culture, you could try to look into the neighboring countries. Canada, especially, is an excellent choice for families as the population is renowned for being one of the friendliest on the planet. Canadians are indeed incredibly welcoming, and they seem to be kinder and easier-going than most other countries – which isn’t to say that Americans aren’t friendly.

There’s also a clear advantage to living in Canada, and that is the absence of language barrier. While a lot of Canadians are bilingual French and English, you can get by if you only speak English in any part of Canada. And if you decide to live in Quebec, you will soon pick the language anyway! You may also be thinking of the breath-taking landscapes in Canada. But there’s something that most people forget about the country, and it’s the cleanliness of its air. Whitehorse, the largest city in northern Canada, has some of the cleanest air in the world, compared to other urban areas according to the WHO.

Somewhere with shorter working hours and more family time

If you worry that you won’t have enough time for your family in your expat life, you may be interested in the family-friendly approach in the Swedish society. Sweden offers a very long parental leave for both parents that can be taken up until a child turns eight. Additionally, with always at heart the desire to improve the work/life balance, Swedish companies have tried a 6-hour working day for the past 2 years with a lot of success. The media have dismissed the experiment as being costly, but the social and health benefits to the Swedish households were positive. Who knows? The Swedish government might introduce a new regulation on reduced weeks?

Somewhere far away for a new start

If you are up for a brand new start in a new culture, you’ll love the idea to move to Indonesia. This is the life that this couple has started in Jakarta and they don’t regret a minute of it. They have household help at home, which a standard habit in Indonesia and they also enjoy a lot of free time together to visit the world and learn Asian languages. If you’re feeling inspired by their story, you might want to take a look at the real estate market in Indonesia, rumahdijual.com/cibubur/apartemen-cibubur-village. The cost of living and housing is cheap, and you can get a big property at a bargain price!

Somewhere warm and affordable

For all those who crave a warm spot in the sun in a country that isn’t too culturally different from the US, but that remains refreshing, give Portugal a chance. According to this expat guideline livinginportugal.com/en/why-portugal/one-of-the-best-places-to-live, this southern European country is one of the places to live and own a house. Not only is the climate extremely mild with around 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, but the cost of living is affordable too. Lisbon, the capital, is one of the cities in the world with the best quality of life, which combines as said the cost of living and the taxes, but also the friendly population, the relaxed lifestyle and the geographical location.

So with this abundance of choices, now’s the time to ask yourself where your expat life should take you.

Family, General, Home Improvement

Thinking of Moving to a New Country?

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

When you have a family, the thought of packing up your entire life and moving across the world can bring about two pure emotions: pure excitement, and pure terror. It might be simple to convince your partner to move across the world, but it’s not so easy to get the message across to the little ones in your life.

Kids thrive on routine, stability, and order. When you tell them you are moving away and that they have to leave school and friends behind it can create a huge amount of stress in children. It is hard for them to adapt to change and you do need to be more mindful of them before you decide to up and leave.


The most crucial thing to remember is to make sure you involve your child right from the start. You can’t expect to turn around one day and tell them you are moving away. Before you even start looking at destinations you need to be discussing the idea of moving with your child. They might hate the idea at first but if they have ample time to get used to it they will likely be much more open to trying new things. Try looking into getting a property for rent in the country you plan to move in and staying there for a few weeks to get you and the family used to the lifestyle and prices of things in the new place. After being there for a few weeks you might decide it’s not for you which is fine. It is better to try and at least experience everything first before you pack everything up and go.

Before you leave for a new country you will need to make sure that you have all your medical stuff up to date. Visit your PCP and tell them about the move. They may send you for vaccines and they can also try to give you some advice on the healthcare system abroad. The last thing you want is to be in another country and not have a clue how to get to the doctors if you are ill.

To make your children more comfortable, try and take their favorite toys with you when you leave even if it might make the move more expensive for you. Children need to comfort of things they know and this might be the perfect way to help them adjust to life in a new country away from their friends and other family members. Make sure you make room in your hand luggage so that they can have the toy with them on the plane.

The same thing applies to other objects that your child uses each day. They might have a pushchair, a pillow or blanket they love or something. If you are going to take your child across the world make sure they have some of these things to make them feel more at home when they arrive.

If your child is still a baby or toddler, you will need to check the regulations for bottles and milk in other countries. Every country has different regulations for child products, and some are stricter than others. For example, if you are in the USA, you can’t take your items to the UK because they contain banned materials for that country. It might be that you have to buy all new equipment so make sure that you have the funds to do it.

Bring lots of memories with you when you move. Children love visual reminders of things, so if they have had to leave friends behind or their old home: take photos of them to bring with you. That way your child can look at these pictures when they are struggling to adjust and remember the things they had back home. It is important because it shows that you acknowledge what they have given up to come here and that you respect those memories. You could even keep it as a surprise when you first arrive in your new home and show it to them.

Moving to another part of the world can be incredibly stressful and it is understandable that you will have a lot of things to sort out. You might need to find a job, register at school, find your new local GP and lots more. However, you also need to make sure you are present in your child’s life in those first few weeks or months. They will find it incredibly difficult to adjust and it will be even harder if you aren’t there to tell them it’s ok.

Stay connected with people back home. Just because you live somewhere new doesn’t mean that you can never see your family and friends again. Set up the laptop for regular Skype calls home and let your children talk to their friends. They will feel more connected to home and it will make the process much less stressful for them.

Once you have finally landed in your new home, make sure you include your children in the decisions for the house. Let the, choose their bedroom and where everything will go, and even let them pick out new furniture if you need to buy some. Giving them jobs to do and making them feel part of the process will help them to forget about their homesickness and be excited to start living in this new place. You could also let them choose the first place you visit while you are there.

A great idea when you’ve settled into your home is to invite the neighbors round for a party. It will give you the chance to get to know the people and the area, and will also be a perfect opportunity to introduce your children to other kids in the area. They will be able to go off and play while you are mingling with the adults, and they may even finish the party with a new best friend.